Caine’s Arcade: 3 Weeks Later…
In less than a week, over 3.5 million people were touched by a feel-good mini-doc on YouTube called Caine’s Arcade. It’s one of the nicest viral videos I’ve seen in a while. If you haven’t watched the video yet, you’ve probably seen it all over Facebook and wondered what it was all about. The film celebrates creativity and an incredibly innovative 9 year-old named Caine. You can watch it here now:
When Mullick first posted “Caine’s Arcade” to YouTube, on April 9th, he added a way for people to donate to for Caine’s tuition—“imagine what this kid could build with an engineering degree”—and set a goal of twenty-five thousand dollars. He shared the link with an editor of Boing Boing, and then went to the climbing gym. While there, his phone began pinging with e-mail alerts—donations were already streaming in. Two dollars. Five dollars. Thirty dollars. Three hundred dollars. By the time Mullick went to sleep that first night, the film had raised six thousand dollars for Caine’s scholarship fund; when he woke up, it had reached sixteen thousand, and, later that day, surpassed a hundred and twenty thousand dollars. (Invitations to a summer program at M.I.T. and an offer from U.C.L.A. to customize an academic track for Caine would come later.)
And this is just how the grownups reacted. The film sparked an unexpected wave of young D.I.Y. activity around the world. Kids posted videos and photos of their own cardboard creations—pinball machines, bubble-gum machines, a photocopier inside of which a small person sits and draws whatever is laid on top of it. Teachers started showing the video in school. It’s not a stretch to say that “Caine’s Arcade” makes a convincing case for “connected learning,” a model that embraces social media as a way for kids to link up with peers and mentors—a kind of crowdsourced education. Riding the viral wave, Mullick has also launched Caine’s Arcade Foundation, with seed money from the Goldhirsh Foundation and a mission to “find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.” Naturally, there’s a TV series in the works, which will document young kids who make things, and match them with storytellers and entrepreneurs. “Caine’s Arcade” was released online, so it’s not eligible for an Academy Award. Even so, Hollywood studios have started circling for the film rights. A major studio has proposed that Mullick, whose longest film has a running time of eleven minutes, make a hundred-million-dollar, live-action feature based on the story of three characters in the film who were destined to meet.
The end result? Among other things, Caine inspires millions, amasses a massive college fund, and he gets the gift of a real pinball machine. Click here to read more. Three weeks later, the video is up to more than 6 million views and the arcade is still open for business: